“One Town. Two Stoplights. Unlimited Possibilities” Growing up in a rural SE Nebraska community, Brent was always bothered by the lack of connectedness and opportunities in rural Nebraska. At age 12, he started a small company that provided what he found lacking in a small town: computer services, web site design, and advice on anything technology-related. Since then, Brent, who is now a Robertson Scholar at the University of North Carolina, has founded and been on the founding teams of many start-up companies throughout the United States. His own company has expanded at an uncontrollable rate.
Brent’s TEDxLincoln talk serves as an introduction to the idea of reinventing rural communities and also challenges entrepreneurs and innovators to consider looking to rural communities for ventures like tech start-ups and social enterprises.
Christie has spent the majority of her adult life in service to elders, with a commitment to improving their quality of life. She now serves as president and CEO of Tabitha, a non-profit provider of health care services for older adults. In her talk, Christie challenges the current “one size fits all” health care system. She believes that system needs to be “disrupted.” She proposes instead “the blank page” which would see each person as human being and allow freedom of choices based on an individual’s personal desires and circumstances.
“Zen in the Art of Troublemaking”
Corey Craig was a six-year-old living in Lincoln, Nebraska when he lost his father in a tragic accident and began “acting out and getting into more than his share of trouble.” Not until the eighth-grade did Corey stumble upon the one place where his rambunctious and outspoken nature were accepted and encouraged: theatre Class. Once unleashed, Corey began developing a real sense of his own artistic voice.
Corey currently resides in Toluca Lake, where he is an actor, writer, producer, and comic. He has numerous television and film appearances, including Godzilla, Grey’s Anatomy, Shameless, and The Guild. He produces Cool Beans Comedy, and founded Troublemaker Foundation, an organization that inspires youth to achieve their potential through goal setting. Corey’s TEDxLincoln talk revolves around three key areas that are crucial for youth: Accept, Empower, Achieve. His challenges others to pay it forward, and cause a positive ripple effect.
“Life in Chiarascuro”
With nearly 15 years of communication experience—including university teaching, a senior leadership position at a large, publicly-traded company, a stint at several Nebraska ad agencies, and her current role in higher education administration—Jackie merges big-picture thinking with a knack for storytelling.
Jackie’s skill as a professional storyteller has been informed by her personal journey—where she learned to take an active role in shaping her life story with the events life handed her as material…especially the ones that were difficult and dark. All personal stories contain both light and shadows; she explores how we can find the inherent beauty in the interplay of these elements—and how shadows play a role in making our personal narratives rich and meaningful.
“I Am Not My Label”
In high school, Lily suffered a traumatic brain injury. With hard work and the help of her parents and a select few teachers, she was able to graduate, something she wasn’t sure she could do. Her own experience fueled a passion in Lily to work with individuals who have special needs, and now her entire life is dedicated to advocating and providing services to people with disabilities. Lily discusses the stigma of disabilities and reveals how those living with them are not defined by them.
“The Gentle Truth with No Blarney”
As a little girl, Patsy Koch Johns fell in love with acting. Over the years she has experienced the arts as transformational no matter a person’s age, status, or level of intelligence. Patsy, an accomplished performer, director, and educator grew up in poverty in Grand Island, Nebraska and has had a teaching career spanning over 40 years. She has received many honors including Nebraska Teacher of the Year and the Governor’s Excellence in Arts Education Award. Her leadership positions have included President of Nebraska State Thespians, President of the Nebraska Speech Communication and Theatre Association, and President of Nebraskans for the Arts. Patsy discusses how the “gentle truth” saved her and how she strives to pass that gift to others.
“Heritage. My Noble Purpose”
Shanti Gangadharan was born in Denver, Colorado and received her Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University. Her time is split between being a mom, wife, to her family and business development manager for ClientSolv Technologies. Shanti’s story begins with her father’s journey to the United States in hope of creating a better life for his family, the beginning of every immigrant’s story. However, when her father’s journey took a sad turn and he lost his ability to seek and provide that better life, her grandparents and her mother were given the responsibility to continue the dream. Shanti takes you on a journey of the wisdom that lived under one single roof, one that inspired, transformed, and molded her into who she is today. She encourages others to intentionally pass along the wisdom and culture of their own family.
“Curing Learning-related Vision Problems: A Ripple that should be a Tsunami in Education”
Optometrist Dr. Vicky Vandervort explains what it is like for a person to have eyes that work but do so inefficiently causing the person to exert extreme effort to see. When this occurs, people, especially children, do not realize the drain on their brain. They try hard, but appear not to be trying at all. She’s found that curing the “vision problems,” in most cases, cures the problems identified as academic problems. “When the visual obstacles are removed, the child begins to excel in school, music and sports. Futures brighten. Self-confidence climbs and a new child emerges from the old, much like a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis. The possibilities are endless.”
Dr. Vandervort, earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Iowa where she majored in elementary education with a minor in early childhood development. She taught in the Lincoln, Nebraska school system for four years. After earning her Doctor of Optometry degree at Southern California College of Optometry, Dr. Vandervort combined her two degrees and has dedicated her career to helping people of all ages maximize their potential in the classroom, workplace and their leisure activities.
Michael has performed for high school and community theatre productions since he was five years old. He spoke at TEDxYouth@Lincoln and was invited to share some of his story on the TEDxLincoln stage as well. He will be performing part of his Nebraska State Championship poetry program – a poem entitled Swingset by Andrea Gibson.
He hopes that his speech may touch the hearts of everyone who hears it, and that it may bring a change to how individuals view themselves as well as others.
“Feminism: A Modern Day Mosaic”
Linsey is an advertising and public relations student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. On campus, she’s a member of the Cornhusker Forensics Team, Character Council, and Nebraska Women's Leadership Network, among others. She also serves as a mentor for the Teammates program. Linsey spoke at TEDxYouth@Lincoln in August 2014.
In her presentation at TEDxLincoln she examines her personal experiences with misogyny and sexism and how feminism can be misrepresented in society. She strives to inspire and empower youth and adults to share their ideas, stand for their beliefs and take action.
“Curiosity = Creativity”
Marni talks about what it means to be an inquisitive tourist of your world. “Everyday, the curious are the lovers of life--flexible but not compliant. Curiosity is the seeker of innovation, the birth of possibilities the gatherer of colors. Curiosity is the music.”
In college Marni waited tables, “badly,” and delivered flowers, that is until the van rolled down Sumner Street and hit three parked cars. Marni, earned degrees in Theatre, Speech, and English taught high school before leaving to pursue stand-up comedy full time. “Like Steinbeck's Travels with Charlie, I went from town to town, city to city, honing my craft, traveling with Frances, my lovely golden.”
Marni was one of only 6 women in 20 years to have become one of the five finalists in the prestigious International San Francisco Comedy Competition, where over 400 comics competed. She has delivered over 1,000 keynote speeches in over 45 states, Canada & Cruise ships….”some to an audience” and has performed on Showtime and Life Time's "Girls Night Out." Comedy has now segued into Keynote Speaking, “the best combination of teaching and comedy…the best balance for me, I believe the best way that I serve.”
“Growing Food, Growing Community: The Example of the Hawley Hamlet”
Since 2010, Tim and his wife have gone from a measly little tomato patch to six tenths of an acre (the equivalent of roughly 65 yards of a football field). They have planted over 50 fruit and nut trees and two dozen berry beds, set up two chicken coops and two beehives, and now have 20 neighbors actively participating in what they call their hamlet.
They are growing food in the “Hawley Hamlet.” But equally important, they’re growing community. And that’s a good thing. Because given the risks climate change and extreme weather are posing to our environment, we’re going to need all the food and community the city can produce.
Tim is a native son of Nebraska, born in Beatrice, raised in Gering in the Panhandle and for the past 37 years, he has lived in Lincoln. An English Major and UNL alum, Tim has spent most of his adult life involved in Nebraska politics, doing everything from serving as a VISTA volunteer to running local campaigns to my present post as State Coordinator for Nebraskans for Peace (a position he has held for over 20 years).
"Modern Day Fiddle" Sam Packard is a musician and orchestra director. He and his family live in Lincoln, Nebraska. Sam regularly plays in various local and regional groups, and has been working on a record. He recently played with Nebraska native singer/songwriter Brad Colerick, and performs regularly with Cowboy Dave Band, a honky-tonk western band out of Denver. In his spare time, Sam builds furniture for family and for sale and enjoys biking with family and friends.
This is a dramatic reading of letters written by Holocaust victims Curt and Regina Schönwald to their son Henry Wald who settled in Lincoln, Nebraska after escaping Germany in 1939. The script was developed by Ken Wald and Chris Maly. Ken is the grandson of Curt and Regina (on his father's side). His father would never speak of their fate to the children while raising them in Lincoln. Photos were hung, but the Wald children were told not to ask questions. Chris is a teacher at Lincoln High School and worked with Ken to develop the presentation. Reading of the letters was performed by Jack Bisbee, Megan Higgins and Tony Reda of Lincoln. Bisbee read the part of Ken Wald, Reda read the part of Curt Schonwald and Higgins performed as Regina Schonwald.
"Walking Asleep" Shannon is a Lincoln, Nebraska resident who runs the Harris Academy of the Arts. Shannon is a singer/songwriter with a desire to share her experiences with others through song. She is a wife, a UNL graduate, and is working on her first solo CD. She wrote 'Walking Asleep' after learning about issues the current world. It's a reflection on her journey to become an aware person and having the courage to believe that ignorance is NOT bliss.
Talking Like We Used TO: It’s Really Revolutionary” David is a homeschooled 9th grader. He challenges you to improve your communication skills and clean up your language. He first performed this talk on the TEDxYouth@Lincoln stage and was invited to share it on our main stage as well.